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Swiatek Dismantles Paolini To Win Third Straight French Open Title

  • SPORT
  • 3 min read

Iga Swiatek strengthened her reputation as the queen of clay by capturing a third straight French Open crown with a crushing 6-2 6-1 victory over 12th seed Jasmine Paolini on Saturday to claim her fifth Grand Slam title.

Swiatek’s 21st straight victory at her happiest hunting ground put her in fourth place in the list of longest winning streaks at Roland Garros in the Open era behind only Chris Evert (29), Monica Seles (25) and Justine Henin (24).

The 23-year-old, who arrived in Paris in the form of her life having lifted titles in Madrid and Rome, extended her run of victories on clay this year to a career-best 19 matches and celebrated with her fourth French Open title in five years.

“It’s amazing to be here, I love this place. Honestly, I wait every year to come back here. I was almost out of the tournament in the second round so thank-you guys for staying behind me and cheering. It’s been a really emotional tournament,” Swiatek said after lifting the Suzanne Lenglen cup.

She also congratulated Paolini after the Italian’s surprise run to both the singles and doubles finals in the women’s competitions.

“Congratulations for an amazing tournament, we’re going to have many more matches in the final rounds. And congratulations to your team as well,” Swiatek said, wishing her opponent good luck in her doubles final to be played on Sunday.

Swiatek came out all guns blazing early in the contest but after narrowly missing the chance to break from 0-40 down in the second game, the top-seeded Pole made heavy weather of the next to surrender her serve, before bouncing right back.

The diminutive Paolini, only the third Italian woman after Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani to reach the Roland Garros final since the sport turned professional in 1968, went toe to toe with Swiatek from there but cracked in the sixth game.

With the momentum shifting, claycourt specialist Swiatek began to dominate the exchanges from the baseline, superbly working the angles and sealing the opening set in 37 minutes after winning 20 out of 24 points since going down a break.

A shell-shocked Paolini smiled and soaked up the support and applause from the crowd on the main showcourt when she won the odd point early in the next set, but her challenge faded in the afternoon sun as Swiatek broke twice to build a 4-0 lead.

Swiatek, who dropped only one set throughout the tournament in a second-round epic with Naomi Osaka where she saved a match point, won 10 straight games before Paolini got on the board but there was to be no late comeback and the knockout blow was near.

Swiatek closed out the victory when Paolini sent a shot long and she rejoiced by dropping to her knees and pumping her fists while letting out a huge roar, before joining her entourage in the stands for another round of celebrations.

“I think to play you here is the toughest challenge in this sport,” Paolini told Swiatek.

“It’s been like 15 days, maybe more, that I’ve been here. The best days of my life. It’s still going, because I will be in the doubles final tomorrow.

“It’s been very intense 15 days and I’m really happy. I’m proud of my team to be here, today was really tough, but I’m proud of myself anyway.”

Reuters